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By Robert Bell, John Jung, Louis Zacharilla: Intelligent Communities are those which have - whether through crisis or foresight - come to understand the enormous challenges of the Broadband Economy, and have taken conscious steps to create an economy capable of prospering in it. They are not necessarily big cities or famous technology hubs. They are located in developing nations as well as industrialized ones, suburbs as well as cities, the hinterland as well as the coast.

Five Words for the Top7 Intelligent Communities

June 4, 2013 By

When I visit our Top7 Intelligent Communities, I find myself repeating the same five words.  They are words that people need to hear, so I tend to say them over and over again.  

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I visit these cities and regions because they are in the running to become the Intelligent Community of the Year.  After the Top7 site visit, they gather at the ICF Summit in New York City from June 5 through 7 to be honored for their achievements, to share their knowledge, and find out which one will win that prestigious award. 

It is entirely natural that they are focused on the afternoon of June 7.  That is when we announce the selection, based on rigorous analysis of data and the votes of an international jury.  But I’m afraid their enthusiasm is a bit misplaced.

Attending the ICF Summit is the culmination of an analysis lasting twelve months.  For the communities, it is a milestone on a much longer journey.  

These communities are engaged in a process of major change.  Whether acting in response to crisis or out of foresight, they are working to build an economy that embraces information and communications technology as a path to prosperity, as a channel to solving social challenges, and as a means to strengthen their culture and quality of life.

It is this hard work that I address when I repeat those same five words:  “It’s not about the award.”  They look at me funny when I say it, but I mean every one of those five words.
 
What is it about?  It is about the economic, social and cultural outcomes in those communities.  It is about the opportunities they create for individuals and organizations and the brilliant solutions they devise for long-standing problems shared by municipalities everywhere.  It is about what they have accomplished so far, and all that our global movement may inspire them to accomplish in the future.  These are the reasons we selected them as Top7 Intelligent Communities, and they are rewards much richer than any prize.

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Intelligent Communities

About the Intelligent Community Forum
The Intelligent Community Forum is a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community. Whether in industrialized or developing nations, communities are challenged to create prosperity, stability and cultural meaning in a world where jobs, investment and knowledge increasingly depend on advances in communications. For the 21st Century community, connectivity is a double-edge sword: threatening established ways of life on the one hand, and offering powerful new tools to build prosperous, inclusive and sustainable economies on the other. ICF seeks to share the best practices of the world's Intelligent Communities in adapting to the demands of the Broadband Economy, in order to help communities everywhere find sustainable renewal and growth. More information can be found at www.intelligentcommunity.org.

Robert Bell
Robert Bell is co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, where he heads its research and content development activities. He is the author of ICF's pioneering study, Benchmarking the Intelligent Community, the annual Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year white papers and other research reports issued by the Forum, and of Broadband Economies: Creating the Community of the 21st Century. Mr. Bell has also authored articles in The Municipal Journal of Telecommunications Policy, IEDC Journal, Telecommunications, Asia-Pacific Satellite and Asian Communications; and has appeared in segments of ABC World News and The Discovery Channel. A frequent keynote speaker and moderator at municipal and telecom industry events, he has also led economic development missions and study tours to cities in Asia and the US.

John Jung
ICF co-founder John G. Jung originated the Intelligent Community concept and continues to serve as the Forum's leading visionary. Formerly President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance and Calgary Economic Development Authority, he is a registered professional urban planner, urban designer and economic developer. He leads regular international business missions to US, European, Asian, Indian and Australian cities, and originated the ICF Immersion Lab program. John is a regular speaker at universities and conferences and serves as an advisor to regional and national leaders on Intelligent Community development. The author of numerous articles in planning and economic development journals, he has received global and Toronto-based awards for his work in collaboration and strategic development and sits on numerous task forces and international advisory boards.

Louis Zacharilla
ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla is the creator and presenter of the annual Smart21, Top Seven and Intelligent Community Awards and oversees ICF's media communications and development programs. He is a frequent keynote and motivational speaker and panelist, addressing audiences of tech, academic and community leaders around the world, and writes extensively for publications including American City & County, Continental Airline's in-flight magazine and Municipal World. His frequent appearances in the electronic media have included both television and radio in South Korea, China and Canada. He has served as an adjunct professor at Fordham University in New York and is a Guest Lecturer at Polytechnic University's Distinguished Speaker Series. He holds a Masters Degree from the University of Notre Dame.